June 29, 2009

Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon (part 2)

Time to get started. So our group included Tami and myself running the full marathon, and David, Alyssa, Cherie and Wendy running the half marathon.When we signed up for the run, we were asked to predict our finishing times, and you were given your corral assignment based on your best guess. There were about 35 corrals of runners, so the start line went on for blocks. Since they were staggering the start, it would take about an hour for the final runners to cross the start line. This was an added benefit to anyone late to the start, though it meant a lot of weaving between runners.

David and I ended up starting together in corral 7, and the women decided to start together as well. Cherie and Wendy had decided to run together the whole way, and I think they had the best time of all. As David and I stutter-stepped our way toward the start line, we wished each other well and disappeared into the mass of runners. We both had time goals in mind, and we were prepared to run solo at our own pace. We ended up running together for parts, losing each other at water stops, then reconnecting down the road. This was David's first half marathon, and he ended up running a terrific race.

The course started in Tukwila and headed north to Lake Washington. We spent three miles along the water's edge enjoying the views and the shade the tunnel of trees provided. The day started in the upper 50's but would reach the upper 70's, so any shade was relished. Folks saw eagles and the out-of-towners marveled at the view of Mount Rainier.

At mile 9 the course split and those doing the full marathon ran onto the I-90 bridge for a 2 1/2 mile out and back, while the half marathoners turned left toward the finish line. I was already feeling a little more tired than expected. I had a time goal of four hours and I decided to run a bit faster pace in the first half in hopes of building up a little time cushion. After leaving David and the shaded lake shore for the first of three out-and-backs on the bridge, my pace and energy waned a bit.

There were no bands on the bridge, but at the turn around there was music blasting. As I reached the turn, the end of Michael Jackson's Thriller was playing. You know, the part with the great Vincent Price laugh. I tried to replicate it, but didn't have the lung strength to push out a worthy cackle.

The bridge led to the Mount Baker tunnel where we rejoined the half marathoners. I was really looking forward to the shade, but the tunnel was a sweatbox. Those runners can really throw off some heat. There was also a band in the tunnel, so it was a wall of sound and heat.

We followed the express lanes past the finish area to downtown Seattle. As we passed the halfway point, I checked to see how I was doing for time. I had about a four minute cushion which was right on schedule. We headed onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct where we split one last time with the half marathoners. The last bail out point. Cherie and Wendy actually waited for Tami so they could cheer her on as she made her turn north.

The second half of the marathon was not as scenic as the first, and Tami and I were kind of dreading it. There are some great views from the Viaduct, but we had run on it several times previously so it wasn't as inspiring as it would be for out-of-towners. Running along the highway also meant less spectators and bands. And no shade.

What we did have was frequent, well stocked water stops. Each water stop seemed to go on for blocks and there was never any problem finding a volunteer with a cup to offer. After about mile 9 I made it a habit to put as much water on me as in me, wetting down my hair at each stop to try to stay cool.

Climbing the hill at mile 17, my glutes, hamstrings and calves tightened up pretty badly. I tried to take it easy, worried that I was going to pull something. They stayed tight as long as we were climbing, but nothing snapped. The last major hill was around mile 20, so after that I was able to maintain pace with flagging energy, using gravity as my friend until mile 24. We passed the finish line again for one last two mile out and back. This is where things started to fall apart.

I took a walk break. And then another. I was tapped out. My stomach had been feeling queasy for most of the second half, so I had stopped taking in gels and sometimes skipped the sports drink. I made the turn and headed toward the last hill, deciding to walk the first half of it. Another runner pulled up alongside and started walking with me. He pointed to the other side of the road. It was the 4:00 pace group. He said "Hey, as long as we stay ahead of them, we're good." Just what I needed to hear.

I started running again and it wasn't long until we were turning toward the finish line. As I came down the onramp I heard my name and saw my running group cheering me on. I went from struggling to smiling in a couple of steps.

A block later we made a U-turn and entered the finishing chute. I heard my name again and I had one more big smile for my wife cheering me on. I pressed on to the finish and just tried to keep it together. All the good and bad of the year started welling up along with the physical exhaustion of the day, and by the finish I started sobbing. I crossed the finish line physically and emotionally spent.

I couldn't catch my breath and my queasy stomach couldn't be held back any longer. I threw up a little. One of the medical staff grabbed me and took me into the tent. They gave me some water and a salt packet to put under my tongue. They wanted me to lie down, but that sounded like a bad idea. They said either lie down or start walking, so I started walking. They had a couple of their staff follow me to make sure I was all right. From start to finish it was a well run operation.

My final time - 3:57:40. This is a 21:32 improvement over my personal best, so I am really happy with the time. Tami also shaved 12:10 off her time in San Diego, Alyssa beat her time from Leavenworth, and David turned in a stellar time of 1:53:21 in his first half marathon.

The marathon was another great experience. I ran a pretty strong race and pushed myself to another edge. I was again impressed with the Rock n Roll marathon franchise. The runners were well supported from start to finish. We'll probably be back for more next year, hopefully with a new route to explore.

Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon (part 1)

The Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon was this past Saturday. It was the first year for the event, and by all accounts it was a great success.

The Seattle event took over for the Seafair Marathon which had run for about 5 years, but had some significant snafus last year. I don't know if the problems lead to the switch or if plans were already in the works. Either way, the event is better for it. This year's event was almost five times as large and seemed to go off without a hitch.

There were 25,000 runner overall, including about 7,500 marathoners and 17,500 half marathoners. Another unique thing about the event was that approximately 70% of the runners were women, and there was also a pretty high percentage of first time runners. To avoid logjams of runners, they sent runners off in groups of about 800 with a minute break in between. In our own little group there were two of us running the full and four running the half. Since we were queued up by running pace and not by distance, our half and full runners were able to start together.

Friday night we headed down to the expo to pick up our racing bibs and chips, and then we headed to Bepo's for the carb-loading dinner. We had dinner at Bepo's the night before the San Diego Marathon, so it seemed like the perfect choice this time around as well. Of course we weren't the only ones with this idea, so dinner went a little farther into the night than planned.

Just like previous marathons, I spent too much time on my feet and had too little sleep in the days leading up to the event. There was no parking at the start line, so we had to take bus shuttles from Seattle to Tukwila. At the Seafair Marathon last year, there weren't enough buses and several runners didn't make it to the start line. We were understandably concerned about getting there on time, so it was going to be an early morning.

Tami was able to get a free room so four of us stayed downtown. This saved us a half hour of driving and some additional stress as we were able to walk to the shuttles. Even this early on it was apparent that this event was going to run like clockwork. There were lines of buses and several volunteers coordinating things with military precision.

We were at the start line with more than an hour to check in our gear, stretch and get in the bathroom line multiple times. The start line is always a mass of nervous/excited energy, and when the event has 25,000 runners it is something pretty special to be around. Folks laughed at our "Drunken Promises" running shirts, and we swapped stories with other runners as we milled about the starting area. David and Alyssa live pretty close to the start line, so they opted for a little extra sleep and took a cab that morning. Unfortunately with all the road closures, their trip took about twice as long as it should have, and they made it just in time.

This post is getting long, and lunch hour is over. Part 2 to come...

June 26, 2009

Crossing the finish line

In another passage from 50 Marathons in 50 Days, Dean is relaying a story of the runners, and one in particular, who joined him for marathon number seven in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Then I noticed that the two triathletes who had planned to stop at the halfway point, hadn't. Perhaps they wanted to help Sarah make it to the finish line, or perhaps they were inspired by her grit and determination, and were feeding off of it, as I was.

...Almost our entire field of participants was clinging together, and the differences in ability levels were extreme. Some of the runners could have been literally miles up the road if they had chosen to run as hard as they could. On the other side, Sarah and some of the others probably would have been going much slower if not for the pull created by the stronger members of our group.

...Miraculously, she held on. The nine of us remaining together in the homestretch formed a side-by-side lineup, clasped hands, and raised our arms overhead as we crossed the finish line. Sarah doubled over and began sobbing with a mixture of joy and other emotions that are too complicated to name, but are known to everyone who has pushed his or her body beyond known limits to achieve a goal.

June 24, 2009

Yeah, we're different.

My older brother threw his back out last week. It is pretty bad and he is having difficulty just moving around. He started seeing a physical therapist who has recommended some core strengthening exercises. The first ones she has him doing are flexes that she said he can do anywhere - sitting at his desk, standing in line, etc.

It reminded me of this Adidas ad:

The ad was part of a campaign called "Runners. Yeah, we're different". More ads can be found here.

June 23, 2009

These online network thingys...

can be cool sometimes.

I had a friend who I hadn't seen in about 12 years track me down the other day. We worked together during my brief accounting career. It turns out we both work downtown, so we met for lunch today. We caught up on careers, marriages, kids, folks from the old office, etc. It was great seeing him, and it is amazing to think how much time has past since we've seen each other.

Another friend tracked down a half brother he only suspected existed by searching Facebook. After some brief e-mails, they met for the first time over coffee this afternoon. I am anxious to hear how it went.

I check Facebook about once a week these days. Some friends rarely post while others have embraced the online community. There are games, quizzes and silly things to pass back and forth, and I just don't have (or make) the time to get into it. In fact I opened my Facebook page a couple years ago, and promptly forgot about it. It took another co-worker searching me out to actually fill out a profile. Like anything else on the internet (or in life), there are things of interest and there are distractions. It is a nice surprise when a distraction produces a gem.

Pick your poison

There is no cure for an addictive personality. If you're going to express a compulsive tendacy, it might as well be through running. As Lily Tomlin once joked, "Exercise is for people who can't handle drugs and alcohol."

- Dean Karnazes in 50 Marathons in 50 Days.

June 21, 2009

Train tracks, warning tracks and tracking chips

The Seattle area has lots of good public transportation options. There are several bus systems covering the Puget Sound area, Sound Transit trains bring additional commuters to downtown Seattle from Everett in the north and Tacoma in the south, and of course there is the ferry system for folks across the water. And beginning July 18th, link-light rail will be running between Seattle and the airport, picking up travelers and commuters from Tukwila, Rainier Beach and Beacon Hill. Future lines will head to the University of Washington then north to Lynnwood, and another will cross the lake to reach Bellevue and Redmond.

Ridership is up significantly with the one-two punch of rising gas prices last year, and this year's recession making people look more closely at reducing their commuting costs. Riding the bus into work has been great. The park and ride is only a mile away, and the express bus drops me off across the street from my office.

Seattle Metro's website has a great trip planner that is easy as Mapquest. Simply type in your starting and ending point, the time you want to leave or arrive, and how far you are willing to walk. The planner will give you several trip options detailing the bus lines, schedules and fares. I've used it to get to the dealership to pick up my car, and it will get me to the marathon expo on Friday.

And now it is even easier. There is the new ORCA card, which stands for "One Regional Card for All". The card is a regional pass that ties together seven public transportation systems including: bus systems in four counties, Sound Transit trains, Link-Light rail, and the ferry system. The card has a radio frequency chip that identifies you and your account. Simply wave the card by the reader as you enter or exit, and the fares are calculated and deducted. You no longer need to ask for a transfer because the system records your trip on your card. You can load it with cash like a gift card as well as having monthly passes connected to it. Transposing the letters, and with a nod to Lord of the Rings, it could be called "One Card to Rule them All", but then the logo would probably be more menacing than a Killer Whale.

My brother bought Mariner tickets for my parents for Mother's/Father's Day, and he had an extra ticket for me. Rather than drive in, fight traffic, and pay $20 for parking, I hopped on the game-day Sound Transit train. The train drops you off at King Street Station (about a 10 minute walk to the stadium), and the return train takes off 35 minutes after the game ends. It was standing room only, so fortunately I didn't need to stand in line for a ticket and simply swiped my ORCA card as I entered and exited.

The train route runs mostly along the water front of Puget Sound. We passed by beaches and parks with families walking, kid splashing in the waves, and dogs running free. People turned from the water to wave at the train as it rolled by. I don't know what it is about trains that make folks smile and wave, but it happened all along the route.

It was a great afternoon at Safeco Field. Felix Hernandez pitched well before giving up a two run homer in the 7th. The Mariners picked him up by tying it up in the bottom of the inning. In the 8th inning, Ken Griffey Jr was put in as a pinch hitter. The fans stood and clapped through his at-bat as camera flashes flickered throughout the stadium. He hit the ball deep, but the storybook finish was not to be as the ball was caught at the warning track.

The game was still tied in the ninth inning. The Mariners had the crowd on their feet again by loading the bases with two outs. They came away with the win, not on a clutch hit, but rather a throwing error by Arizona. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.

June 18, 2009

Not so deep thoughts

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Not such a dumb question after all

I love when someone gives you a patronizing answer to your question. "Didn't you read the memo? If you had, you would know the answer would be X". Yes, I read the memo. Then you repeat the actual issue in your first question. This time they listen and take the time to think about the answer, and come up with a completely different answer.

It is particularly annoying when the same person does it to you more than once. Remember last time you treated me like an idiot, and then it turned out it was you who wasn't paying attention. No, I didn't think you remembered.

June 17, 2009


The latest library movie rental was "Who Killed the Electric Car". It is centered around a GM model called the EV1 introduced in the mid-1990's. By all accounts, it was a great car and GM was on the leading edge to capture the market. So why did GM not only stop producing the cars, but took all of the models back and destroyed them? Who killed the electric car? Like the current economic collapse/recession, there is plenty of blame to go around.

Still, after watching the film, it makes me feel like GM (and other car companies) have spent/wasted incredible energy to keep things exactly the way they are. Even when they develop their own great, innovative product, they do their best to sabotage it. It seems they've done their best to fail, and maybe we should've just let it happen. It will be interesting to see if anything changes going forward.

June 15, 2009


Like a lot of runners, I am an introvert by nature. Running naturally appeals to the introverts because it's a solitary activity, unless you go out of your way to make it otherwise...That's why, in the months leading up to the start of the Endurance 50, I worried about how I would deal with being surrounded by other people constantly for seven weeks...every stride would be taken in the company of at least a few fellow runners.

The first few days of the North Face endurance 50 seemed to answer this question in an unexpected way. Far from draining the battery of my spirit, running with the other Endurance 50 participants charged it up. - Dean Karnazes in 50 marathons in 50 Days
Sunday was my last long run before the marathon. Like most runners, my training runs are a solo affair. Tami and I are both training for the Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon, and we agreed a few weeks ago that we would do the 20 miler together. Misery loves company and all that.

Few people would look forward to a 20 mile run, but I was actually a little excited about this one. First, there was the unknown factor of running the day after the Flying Wheels. I was curious how my body was going to react, and it certainly would train me to press on through fatigue.

But more importantly, I was looking forward to a little company. Our running group has been a little splintered this year. The past few years there have been lots of 5ks, 10ks and half marathons on the calendar. It seemed like there was always something on the horizon. This year we have all cut back on the paid events, but we've also stopped getting together to train.

Sunday ended up being a great day. There was a morning marine layer of clouds so it wasn't too warm. Tami and I set a comfortable pace that allowed us to chat and keep our heart rates in a reasonable range. The miles didn't exactly fly by, but they did go by more quickly than normal.

And there was plenty of inspiration out on the road. On our first out-and-back on the Burke-Gilman, we ran by a group of soldiers hiking in fatigues and full packs. They were on a 12 mile hike and probably just as thankful for the cool morning. We thanked them repeatedly for their service was we trotted by. It was quite a scene for Flag Day.

So all told, the big training weekend went pretty well. There are some muscle and tendon tweaks this morning, but no real injuries. Some numbers for the weekend:

117.5 miles
8:48 on the road
7110 calories burned
2 cold baths
2 pounds lost

Bring on the taper!

June 14, 2009


Well, this was the big training weekend. Back to back big days that has been looming large on the calendar. I made it through without physically shattering, though mentally it was a little touch and go.

Saturday was the Flying Wheels bike ride. We have done this ride for the last few years, and it is kind of a gut-check ride to see if you are ready for the STP a month later. There are routes of 25, 45, 65 and 100 miles, so you can pick your poison. This year I decided to test myself with the 100 miler, and I passed, but just barely.

The hills start five miles in, and there isn't much let up throughout the day. I was trying to finish the course in a certain amount of time, so I was pushing myself. Early on I was feeling pretty good. Passing people wearing RAMROD jerseys (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) makes you feel pretty good about your hill climbing skills. Then around mile 45, my quads started shaking and it was clear the rest of the day was going to be a struggle. Physically I was pretty much tapped out so it became a test of will. I finished within 15 minutes of my goal time, but it wasn't pretty. It felt like someone had punched me in the yarbles.

Some friends had ridden one of the other routes, and I was happy to find they had waited around for me to finish. We swapped stories over a Fat Tire, and it sounds like they had a tough, but good ride. It was Wendy's first official bike ride, and hopefully she is hooked.

Shortly after finishing, I was almost ready to swear off my one-day STP attempt. Almost. Not sure if it is best to make the decision while the pain is still fresh in your mind, or after the details fade away a bit. It is clear I am not trained as well as I thought/hoped, but a few days from now I may convince myself it wasn't that bad and I'm up to the challenge. Denial is a powerful tool.

June 10, 2009

Yeah, we're not going to need you to come in this weekend

So one of the things I might have been 'losing' last week was my new job. As I mentioned, I was still working at my last job (though not that third job - sanity asserted itself). My resume stated that I was still working there, and I had also mentioned it to my recruiter before I started. When I read the company policy on other jobs a week or two ago, it looked like they considered this a conflict of interest. Though I didn't think it really was a conflict, I brought it to the attention of my supervisor.

We detailed the situation and submitted a request for an exception. The answer came down on Thursday. At 11:00am I was having birthday cake, at 3:00 I was being walked out of the building. It was handled professionally, but it still didn't feel too good. The price of honesty.

The options were to give up the new job or the old job. I was given the weekend to think about it. After looking into the ramifications of each, I decided to stick with the new one. It took a couple days to work out the details, so today was my first day back. I don't have my employee card back yet, so I'm back to the dorky "Hi my name is" visitor sticker for a day or two. Fortunately they didn't clear out my desk or computer while I was gone, so things were back to relatively normal today.

And as a welcome back, there was a message in my inbox letting me know that Casual Friday had been extended to every day this summer. It was a very Office Space moment.

It's the little things.

June 9, 2009

Invasion of the caterpillars

Caterpillars are everywhere right now. They only seem to 'blossom' every few years or so because I don't remember seeing them around the house since we moved in. I can remember them taking over the apple and plum trees at my childhood home. White tents would span the branches as they nibbled away on the leaves. I don't know if I should be concerned that they are crawling all over the house or not. Will they find five coats of Drum Beat Red tasty?

June 8, 2009

Losing it

Losing my mind and a few other things this week.

I dashed into QFC a few days ago to grab something on the way to a party. Since I had only one item, I went through the line with the self-checkout machines. I asked for $20 cash back, then promptly forgot to grab it. The next person in line got a much better surprise than finding a quarter in a pay phone.

Yesterday I was out on a 14 mile run. On longer runs I bring along my Amphipod hydration belt to carry fluids, fuel and tunes. It was another warm day, so by the time I was done, I was pretty thirsty. When I reached for a drink, one of the bottles wasn't there. I guess I hadn't clicked it back in all the way the last time I stopped for a drink. I had the tunes cranked up a little high so I didn't hear it bouncing off the sidewalk.

As I walked toward my front door looking forward to an ice-cold drink, I reached into the belt's pouch to grab my key only to find that I had lost it too. Apparently it fell out when I grabbed a gel or pulled out the iPod shuffle. My wife was out of town, so I was locked out. I still haven't trained the pooch to turn a deadbolt or open the slider. She did do a fine job of barking as I tried to break into my own house.

I made an attempt to squeeze through the dog door, but it turns out my massively broad shoulders wouldn't fit through. The only window vent that was open was not much bigger. I wasn't up for running the route again in search of the key, so fortunately a friend has a copy of our house key. He was home so I was spared busting a window.

Then there's the job...but the jury is still out on that one.

I had actually dropped a key on a run once before. Tami and I were running around Greenlake, and on our second lap I happened to look down and saw a car key. Huh, that key looks just like mine, (pats pockets), wait, that is my key! I'll run yesterday's route sometime this week, but I can only expect so much dumb luck.

After I made it into the house yesterday, I drove the route and found the water bottle. I also went back to QFC on the off chance that someone turned in the cash. The person at the help desk checked the safe and even called the bookkeeper. Of course, since it was in the self-checkout aisle, there wasn't going to be a overage on anyone's register. Then the bookkeeper asked how much money I was talking about. The lady at the help desk told her $20, hung up the phone, and just gave me a twenty out of her till. A really nice gesture, especially since it was my my mistake not theirs.

June 4, 2009


Since we're near the end of marathon training (who's this 'we' kemosabe), I had to get an 18 mile run in this past Sunday. As I was going to be running the Great Kilt 5k the same day, this meant a 15 mile run beforehand. I am not a morning person so the thought of getting up at 5:45am to run 15 miles was less than attractive, but I knew after enjoying the beer garden with friends I was unlikely to run it after the 5k. Plus it gave me the perfect excuse not to set a new 5k PR.

I drove to Magnuson Park and ran an out and back route along the Burke-Gilman trail. Even at 6:30am there were folks out running and biking, but compared to a normal summer afternoon it was practically deserted. It was surprisingly warm for that early in the morning (and season) so I was glad that the water fountain at the Logboom Park was finally on again.

I have been listening to podcasts almost exclusively during my runs the past few months. I have enjoyed laughing along with Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and listening to running podcasts like Pheddipidations and Running With the Pack for inspiration. A few of the running podcasts will slip a song into the mix every so often, and I find that my pace picks up a bit each time. For my morning 15, I decided to listen to music for the last 45 minutes or so, and man what a difference.

Music can be powerful, and at mile 10 when you're still half asleep, it can hit you pretty hard. When the music started, I felt a tingly warmth travel down my neck and shoulders and spread through my body. One song in particular stirred the emotions enough that I struggled to catch my breath. The music was not background distraction to make me forget what I was doing, but something that grabbed me and added power to my run.

I had the same feeling of breathlessness a few miles earlier when I ran through a swarm of gnats, but it wasn't nearly as powerful or memorable.

June 3, 2009

Running in a skirt

This past Sunday our running group participated in The Great Kilted 5k. As most of you know, I was married in a kilt, so this seemed like an event for me.

The 5k took place at Magnuson Park in Seattle. There are several 5k events that take advantage of the park, though each route is a little different. And of course the wearin' o' the kilt made this one a little unique. You were encouraged, though not required to wear a kilt. You could rent one for $5, but a few had their own, and even more created something to run in. As you can see from a few of our runners, the term 'kilt' was interpreted loosely.

And hula skirts and crazy tights weren't enough. There was also some hair painting. My arm was twisted, and when they asked what color I wanted, I said "stripes".

It turned out to be a hot one on Sunday, so the heat ate into our finishing times. but it made that beer garden even sweeter. This was actually the first official event for most of our running group, so it we spent a little extra time enjoying the spoils of victory in the morning sun.

More photos can be found here and here.


Today marks my 42nd year on this planet. I have joked that this is the year where I will have all the answers. But like the novel that features 42 as the answer to life, the universe and everything, I may be searching for the question for some time.

I don't feel 42, not that I know how it is supposed to feel. There is a little more gray in my hair these days, but I don't seem to be losing much. I don't bounce back as well the next day, but I'm also dealing out a little more physical punishment these days. I've been thinner in the past, but I don't think I've ever been fitter. Overall, I'm feeling pretty good for 42.

I guess the number means something when I start thinking about the long haul. I feel like I should have more of my life put together by now. This year will continue to be a journey of discovery. I'm hoping for some more answers, and it would be nice if I could ask the questions first.

No wise man ever wished to be younger. --SWIFT.

June 2, 2009

Train wrecks and names in the news

I was reading the paper this morning, and the lead story was about a burst water pipe that had flooded homes in the Ravenna area of Seattle. As many as 22 homes were flooded, and I recognized the person they were interviewing for the story. We had looked at homes a few years ago when she was considering buying, and her rental was one of the homes that was flooded.

The story went on to say that most of the people affected did not have proper flood insurance. Most policies without separate flood insurance only cover a burst pipe within the home. The story went on to say that the city may cover some costs, but only the depreciated value of items, not their replacement value. Lynn and everyone else have lost a lot of things that won't be easily replaced. You don't want to see people you know in news stories. The news is rarely good.

Growing up, my Junior High was just down the street from a fire station. Occasionally the sirens would wail and a fire truck would drive by. Of course the students would look out the window, and I can remember my teacher Mr. Rice trying to bring us back by saying, "OK, just hope they aren't headed to anyone's house you know, and let's get back to the lesson".

Traffic was backed up on I-5 yesterday. There was an accident during morning rush hour. It turns out the accident was in the northbound lanes, but it still jammed up southbound traffic for hours. I wonder what thoughts go through people's heads when they rubber-neck to see an accident on the freeway. They aren't slowing down to offer help, and when there is a concrete divider between lanes there isn't much danger in maintaining a reasonable speed. People say they can't help looking at an accident. I'm not sure why exactly. What are they hoping to see?

I heard later that the accident in the northbound lanes involved a motorcycle. The cause of the accident? There were actually several accidents that morning in both the north and southbound lanes. The motorcycle rider (with iPod earbuds in) was rubber-necking, looking at an accident in the southbound lanes, and ran into the back of an ambulance parked in the carpool lane.

We can't take in all the bad news everyday. We would be overwhelmed if we did. The best we can do is hope they're all right, hope it isn't someone we know, help out when we can, and try not to make things worse by taking our eyes off the road.

June 1, 2009

Quote of the day

Stop living life for what's around the corner and start enjoying the walk down the street.

- Grant L. Miller, motivational guru

Memorial ride

This past Saturday, we had a memorial bike ride for Gerry. Almost 50 of us headed up to Anacortes to catch the 7:45am ferry to San Juan Island. There were lots of his friends from Whidbey Island and a few of us from the Big Rides. It was a beautiful day with a great group of people. Gerry was a special man and you couldn't help but be drawn to him.

Everyone rode at their own pace, regrouping about every 10 miles at a park to chat, mingle and catch up in the sun. Though the route ended up being plenty hilly, it was a leisurely day. Gerry never rushed through a day out on the bike, so it seemed only right to take our time. Plus we didn't want to rush through a day with scenery like this.

After the ride, we gathered at a pub in Friday Harbor. They gave our group the whole room upstairs and we filled it to capacity. We shared stories and toasts to the man that brought all of us together.

And of course, afterward there was ice cream.

We love and miss you Gerry.